Posted: Monday, August 18, 2008 9:46 pm
Dear Annie: I had always dreamed of planning my daughter’s wedding. I didn’t want to upset her budding relationship with her future mother-in-law, but then the two of them planned it all — even shopping for her wedding gown. How do I tell her how much it hurts to hear her call her mother-in-law “Mom”? This woman is NOT her mother. I am.
I could put up with this when the in-laws lived far away, but now my daughter lives in their town. When she had her first child, we moved closer so we could help. My own medical problems made it difficult to care for an infant full time, but I offered to take the children when necessary so the parents wouldn’t miss work. Did they ever take me up on it? No. But of course, her mother-in-law can do it all. The woman is 15 years older than I am and has just as many medical problems. I said I’d take the children so the mother-in-law could have a day off, but “Mom” refused and said she could handle it.
I got fed up with being treated as useless and moved two hours away. If it weren’t for the grandchildren, I would forget I even have a daughter. Any suggestions? — Hurting Mother
Dear Hurting: It was gracious of you to step back and allow your daughter to bond with her mother-in-law, which, apparently, she has. And now you resent it. Moving away in a fit of pique was a bit childish. You need to stop seeing this as a competition for your daughter’s love. Instead, form a new relationship with her. Don’t be the baby-sitter. Be a friend. Meet her once a week (or once a month) for lunch at a nice restaurant. Talk about the interesting things going on in your life and hers. See a play or a concert together. Be someone she wants to spend time with, instead of a bitter woman who makes her feel guilty.
Dear Annie: I am an avid baseball fan, but I have one question. When we play Canadian teams (which is quite often), what do we do when we hear the Canadian national anthem? I always stand with my hand over my heart for the American anthem, and I do the same thing for the Canadian anthem. Is that OK? — Michigan Baseball
Dear Michigan: It is appropriate and respectful to stand for the playing of “O, Canada,” as well as the national anthems of other countries. Placing your hand over your heart is optional, and fortunately, you do not have to sing along.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Amber,” who was branded a liar for telling her teacher that another girl’s story had been plagiarized from a TV movie. The teacher reacted very badly and Amber’s father beat her. Now, 20 years later, she’s found a book that exonerates her and wants to send it to both the teacher and the other girl.
I think the reason this is such a searing memory for Amber is because she was humiliated in front of the class and then beaten when she got home. She won’t let it go because she still feels the pain. The only way it will go away is to let the teacher who caused the problem know how much it has bothered her all these years. The teacher is probably retired by now, but Amber should do it anyway, and the teacher should most definitely apologize.
We often hear about teachers who, years later, receive letters from students telling how they made a difference in their lives. Amber should do the same kind of thing and give the teacher a chance to apologize. Had the teacher handled it better, Amber might be a different person now. — J.T.
Dear J.T.: We quite agree that the teacher owes Amber an apology, but we can’t guarantee it will happen. If making the effort, regardless of the outcome, will make Amber feel better, she should do it. And only she can decide that.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.18.08